This wonderful book I’ve finished today. It’s one of the most successful (if not THE most successful) non-fiction book in Germany ever. By now it is published in many other different countries and languages. The author is Hape Kerkeling, one of Germany’s most popular comedians and TV personalities/entertainers and he’s writing about his experiences about walking the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St. James in English or Jakobsweg in German).
The English title is “I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago”
When it first came out in 2006 I wasn’t interested. I’m usually not big on non-fiction or biographies, and also… while liking Hape Kerkeling as a comedian… wasn’t really interested in his experiences as a pilgrim.
This year the book was adapted into a movie and at first I was like “how in the world can this movie be any good”. Then I read an interview with Hape and I can’t even say exactly why, but this suddenly made me think about checking out the book. We had seen the movie trailer and while I still wasn’t 100% convinced, I wanted to see the movie nevertheless. But that would mean: hurry up and read the book first. Because there’s (almost) no way (without so far two exceptions) I read a book after I’ve seen the movie. I completely lose interest. I don’t like to have the images of a movie in my head when reading a book but rather want to make up my own mind and use my own imagination and create my own pictures and visuals when reading a book.
Not really sure if I’d like it, I decided to use the chance of downloading a free excerpt from iBooks. That’s one of the good aspects of e-books: the excerpts. They are usually long enough to make up one’s mind about a book.
I read the excerpt without interruption and at the end I was sad when I reached the end. But hey… thank God there’s the “buy now” button and I didn’t hesitate one second.
Now I’m finished and halfway surprised how much I actually liked it. I think Hape did a very good job of giving us some insight into his inner turmoil during his pilgrimage. He does so in a rather light way, with his typical humor and wit shining through, but never making it a “comical” story. We learn about the struggles and the moments of enlightment… his changing mindsets and thoughts the farther he gets… about the people he meets – the weird ones, the funny ones, the irritating ones, the inspiring ones… we learn about the different faces of the camino, the people who live there and how welcoming they are to the pilgrims.
I found the book to be a page turner… could hardly put it down. I felt like I was walking along with him on the Camino.
Me, as someone who thought for years that this book would not be something I’d like, now gives out a strong recommendation to check it out.
My friend was even more skeptical. Doesn’t help that she’s not exactly a fan of Hape Kerkeling and also didn’t like the movie trailer, to say it politely, and only went to see the movie with me to humor me.
To both our surprise she actually really enjoyed the movie, and so I told her again, so checko ut the book. But then I took matters into my own hands and bought her a copy when we were at the RRZ (mall) today for a long movie day. Gave it to her as a gift and said I’d be very curious what she had to say. I’m quite positive though, she’ll like it. Stay tuned.
If you want to learn more about Hape, here’s a report in the New York Times about him.
A quick word about the movies we saw:
Die 5. Welle | The 5th Wave
Alien/Apocalypse movie (we don’t really see aliens though, at least not in typical alien form LOL) that was obviously adapted from a book (series?) because the ending is open and definitely calls for a sequel. It wasn’t bad but not necessarily good either. Very clearly aimed at a younger audience.
The Big Short
Well… that movie was good. I’m sure I would have said it is brilliant if I had understood more of all that bank/financial terminology. I’m completely at loss when it comes to such things. I don’t even really know what a hedge fund is, let alone all these other complicated terms these guys are talking about. The good thing is: some of the important ones were explained in a very cool way by actors/personalities (such as Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez and a Chef that I’m sure is famous in the USA) to explain it for the dumb. I’m obviously too dumb though, and therefore some of what was going on was lost on me. I still want to say that I liked the movie… the way it was filmed (loved when the actors sometimes talked directly into the camera and to us viewers)… and especially the acting! Outstanding cast! I mean… even if you don’t understand each and every detail, you can still follow the events of what went down back in the day and what lead to the downfall of the worldwide economy in 2007/2008. A pretty good insight of the dirty and greedy business of the big bank players.
I’d say everyone who has loved the Rocky movies in the past, should see this film. I was a die-hard Rocky fan back in the day. I had a huge Rocky poster on the wall in my room and I had seen the parts I – III several times. I hated Rocky IV though and thought it would be better for the series to come to an end. Never cared about the others that followed. Creed however, sounds like a clever and logical way to go on with the story without becoming embarrassing. I thought they did very well with the script, I liked Michael B. Jordan as the son of the legendary Apollo Creed and how endearing was good ol’ Sylvester Stallone as the aging Rocky. As I said… if you loved the original Rocky movie(s), then go and see this one. No, they don’t re-invent the wheel with it. It’s a boxer movie after all. But especially for Rocky-Fans a very good start into a new generation!
I also loved the many images of Philadelphia which reminded me of the days when we visited the city back in 2005 to see one of our last Bon Jovi shows at the Wachovia Center and in 2001, also to see Bon Jovi at the Electric Factory for a MTV taping. The Electric Factory made a short appearance in the movie as well :-).
It was a short stay in 2005 and there wasn’t much time to explore everything, and sadly we only drove by the famous “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in a sightseeing bus, instead of climbing them, but it still was great to be there.
#hapekerkeling #ichbindannmalweg #imoffthen #books #movie #movies #creed #thebigshort #the5thwave #rocky